How much? Pfizer expects to reap at least $26B from Covid vaccine in 2021
Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine is likely to bring in about $26 billion in 2021 revenues, which is more than $10 billion more than the biopharma behemoth previously predicted, the company announced Tuesday morning.
The company said that figure is based on signed contracts as of mid-April that amount to 1.6 billion doses of the vaccine to be delivered this year. And the dramatic uptick in guidance is due to additional supply agreements that have been signed since the company’s previous guidance. More may be coming too.
“We also are in ongoing discussions with multiple countries around the world about their needs, and we expect these discussions to lead to additional supply agreements,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in prepared remarks on Tuesday’s conference call.
To put into perspective how much $26 billion is for Pfizer: It’s more than any other drug or vaccine has earned in a year, ever. And it’s almost 30% of what the company expects in total revenues for 2021, and it’s more than double what the company expects to spend on R&D (about $10 billion in 2021).
“Factoring in the costs to manufacture, market and distribute BNT162b2 [the vaccine], including applicable royalty expenses and a 50% gross profit split with BioNTech, as well as shared R&D expenses related to BNT162b2 and costs associated with other assets currently in development for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, the revenue impact on the bottom line of our financials is anticipated to be in the high 20s as a percentage of revenue,” a Pfizer spokesperson said.
As of May 3, Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have shipped about 430 million doses of their vaccine to 91 countries and territories around the world, the companies said. Already in the first quarter of 2021, Pfizer said its vaccine contributed $3.5 billion in global revenues, which compares with $154 million in sales in the fourth quarter of 2020 (the vaccine won emergency use authorization from the FDA in December).
Bourla also noted that the company expects to submit an application to the FDA for a full approval of the vaccine this month.
Beyond 2021, the company said it’s already held negotiations with Canada to supply up to 125 million doses in 2022 and 2023, with options to purchase up to 60 million additional doses in 2024, and with Israel to supply millions of doses in 2022 and beyond. Talks with other countries are ongoing too and Pfizer notes that it uses three pricing tiers for government contracts depending on the relative wealth of nations.
Those additional doses will require additional manufacturing capacity, which the company expects to have as it’s planning for capacity to manufacture at least 3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2022, which compares with 2.5 billion doses this year.
Use of the vaccine is expected to soon expand in the US for adolescents aged 12 to 15, and the company expects to have definitive readouts and submit for an EUA for two other groups of children aged 2 to 5 years and 5 to 11 years, both in September, Bourla noted.
Pfizer is also working on trials to test the vaccine against variants.
Bourla said the company is evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of a third dose of the existing formulation of its vaccine “to understand the effect of a booster on immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 variants in circulation. Additionally, we have started an evaluation of an updated, prototype variant version of our vaccine that encodes the spike protein of the lineage B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 variant, which includes the mutation E484K, first identified in South Africa.
“This study is designed to establish a regulatory pathway to update the current vaccine to address any future variant of potential concern in approximately 100 days, if needed. We expect to have immunogenicity data for both studies in early July,” he added.